Hopewell's Shell commits to Pittsburgh

ESPNHS Mag: Rushel Shell | Get Familiar: Rushel Shell | ESPN Recruiting

Catch Shell on TV tonight as Hopewell plays Central Valley on ESPNU at 6 p.m. EST.

For ESPN Recruiting's full coverage of Shell's announcement, click here.

Hopewell (West Aliquippa, Pa.) senior running back Rushel Shell, the nation's No. 24 recruit and No. 3 RB in the ESPNU 150, verbally committed to Pittsburgh this morning.

Shell announced his decision in a ceremony at Hopewell High School. He was also considering Alabama.

Shell is currently the career rushing leader in Western Pennsylvania. He surpassed the WPIAL career mark for rushing yards on Sept. 23 in a game against Mount Lebanon. The previous record was 7,646 yards, set in 2000 by Mike Vernillo of Fort Cherry. Shell did not play last week due to a concussion.

Shell has been one of the nation's most highly recruited athletes. As of his decision this morning, roughly half of the players above him in the ESPNU 150 had yet to commit to a college program. In addition to Pittsburgh and Alabama, schools such as Auburn, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State, Virginia and West Virginia had pursued Shell. Oregon was also reportedly in the mix.

In a conversation with ESPNHS last week, Shell talked about what it meant to finally make his college decision.

It’ll take a lot off my shoulders, that’s for sure," he said. "It’ll be nice to not think, 'What am I thinking about this school or that school.' I can just move forward. But it’s been a great experience throughout the recruiting process. I’ve put a lot of thought into my decision, I’ve made up my mind and I’m pretty happy with it."

Shell attends the same high school as NFL Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett, who was in attendance when Shell broke the WPIAL rushing record. The football field at Hopewell is named after Dorsett. Shell told ESPNHS over the summer that he's had conversations in the past with Dorsett about becoming a better running back. Dorsett also attended the University of Pittsburgh.

"He told me you have to make yourself a smaller target," Shell said. "He said if I do that I can be the best."

Shell and his Hopewell Vikings (4-2) are playing on ESPNU tonight at 6 p.m. Their opponent is Central Valley (6-0), which is currently ranked No. 4 in the POWERADE Pennsylvania Weekly Rankings.